EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants are finalizing a deal with Don “Wink” Martindale to be their new defensive coordinator, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.
Martindale, 58, was fired earlier this year by the Baltimore Ravens after four seasons as their coordinator and 10 years with the team. He replaces Patrick Graham, who surprisingly left New York for a similar role with the Las Vegas Raiders last week.
The Giants were expecting to keep Graham under new coach Brian Daboll after he failed to land a head-coaching job. Graham interviewed with the Giants and Minnesota Vikings for their head-coaching vacancies.
Daboll said at his introductory news conference this his expectation was for Graham to remain on his staff. The two had worked together previously in New England (2013-16).
But things changed when Josh McDaniels was hired as head coach by Las Vegas. Graham jumped at the opportunity, especially after seeing his close friend Joe Judge get fired after just two seasons as head coach of the Giants after being promised time by ownership.
Graham guided the league’s 21st-ranked defense this past season.
Martindale was the name most frequently connected to Daboll during the interviewing process. So it was hardly a surprise the Giants turned to him once Graham left.
Daboll also interviewed Jim Schwartz, Sean Desai and Steve Wilks for the position.
Martindale was surprisingly fired by the Ravens with one year remaining on his contract after this past season. The two sides “agreed to move forward in separate directions,” according to a statement by coach John Harbaugh after the move.
This came after the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on a one-year extension for Martindale through 2023, a source told ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
Baltimore’s defense ranked 25th in the NFL this past season, the first time the Ravens had finished out of the top 10 in Martindale’s four seasons as defensive coordinator. The Ravens also allowed the second-most yards (363.4) in the franchise’s 26-year history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Martindale had been with the Ravens since their 2012 Super Bowl season and was known for his ultra-aggressive style. The Ravens regularly ranked among the highest-blitzing teams.
This was unlike any season under Martindale, whose defenses ranked No. 1 in 2018, No. 4 in 2019 and No. 7 in 2020. He had been considered a head-coaching candidate, even interviewing for the Giants job in 2020 that eventually went to Judge.